Mayor, SPD call May Day damage 'unfortunate,' but praise safety

Mayor, SPD call May Day damage 'unfortunate,' but praise safety

Mayor, SPD call May Day damage 'unfortunate,' but praise safety

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 2 at 2:26 PM

Seattle's mayor and police chief on Wednesday praised the work of officers who were in the thick of the May Day demonstrations and who made safety a high priority.

Calling the property damage sustained by downtown businesses unfortunate, Mayor Mike McGinn said  safety was the highest priority as officers confronted protesters wielding sharpened sticks, metal poles and homemade incendiary devices.

"They put themselves in harms way," McGinn said at a press conference. "I'm very appreciative that we're not looking at injuries today as well."

Earlier Wednesday, the CEO of Seattle's Downtown Business Association criticized police response for failing to prevent vandalism.

Seattle Police Chief John Diaz thanked McGinn for the one-time executive order that allowed officers to confiscate any weapon-like items from protesters.

"These individuals were somewhat creative," explained Sgt. Paul Gracy as he held up some of the homemade weapons that were seized.

McGinn said city officials initially brought up the executive order with him the day before May Day, but he didn't elect to carry it out until the protests began.

Seattle Police said they will create a task force specifically to identify and prosecute the remaining protesters who vandalized the city.

Diaz said he anticipates more protesters will be arrested and charged in the coming days and weeks with the help of the task force. 

A total of 8 protesters were arrested following Tuesday's demonstrations -- seven men and one woman. Four of them will be charged with felonies for assault on police and malicious mischief, police said.

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